Categories: Firefox

Tracking Diaries with Matt Navarra

In Tracking Diaries, we invited people from all walks of life to share how they spent a day online while using Firefox’s privacy protections to keep count of the trackers that tried to follow them. 

Whenever you’re online, a multitude of third parties attempt to record what you’re doing, largely without your knowledge or consent. Creepy! That’s why Firefox has turned the tables, letting you block and see the trackers. Read on to find out how many trackers tried to trail Matt Navarra throughout his day, and how he felt about it.

Matt Navarra's Firefox Tracking Diary

Name: Matt Navarra
Occupation: Social Media Consultant
Favorite thing on the internet: Twitter.com or Mad Men Integrated (Social Media Manager Geek LOLs)
Diary date: Tuesday 15th October 2019

9 a.m. BST / Trackers = 0

Time to set off on my daily trek around the web…

✅ Coffee
✅ To-do list
✅ Memes

Let’s go… First.. I load up my must-have-open browser tabs for work:

  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Tweetdeck
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Xero (business accounts tool)
  • Spike (Newswhip): One of my favourite social media manager tools
  • Dataminr: Another of my geeky social media manager tools

10 a.m. / Trackers = 90… Already!

  • My first hour each day is mostly spent checking new emails, scanning the tech and social media news from the past 12 hours offline, then reviewing posts in my Facebook Group – The Social Media Geekout
  • Replied to three emails in Gmail.
  • Spotted two interesting stories in my Social Media news dashboard on Spike (Newswhip). I opened both articles to have a quick read and then shared them using Buffer to my Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, and Facebook Group.

TikTok poaching Facebook staff | CNBC.com

Facebook users frustrated about being locked out of their accounts | TNW

Tracker update: Around 70 of the 90 trackers blocked so far happened when I visited the two news articles.

Content is not cheap, so publishers be hitting me with a ton of trackers for ad networks, as well as a whole bunch of analytics tools to track what I visit on their site, and how I navigate around the rest of their webpages.

Spotted trackers for publisher analytics tools like Parse.ly and Google Analytics.

Enhanced Tracking Protection in Firefox shows the number of trackers blocked daily. See what Firefox has blocked for you at https://www.mozilla.org/firefox/privacy/products/

11 a.m. / Trackers = 181!

  • Quick Google search for new homes for rent in my local area. I used Rightmove. This appears to be where a ton of the new trackers were blocked. I wonder if I will now see a ton of ads in my Facebook and Twitter news feeds about moving home and related services :)

Noon / Trackers = 257

  • The tweet about TalkSport had a recording of a radio interview I did last week. I downloaded the file from an email in Gmail.
  • Quick break to scan my news feeds on LinkedIn, Twitter, and my Facebook Group. I also shared the video from TalkSport on all my profiles.
  • Did a search on Twitter for a tweet by @MariSmith about a new Facebook Live clipping feature. I retweeted it via twitter.com.
  • Dropped a short email via gmail to a contact at Pinterest about our sponsorship deal with them for our new podcast ‘Geekout with Matt Navarra
  • Checked my Facebook Messenger messages via facebook.com. Responded to two messages. My mum wanted to know what I want for my birthday. Awww ❤️
  • Lunch break…! Checked out a few articles I spotted as I scanned my news feeds:

Safari’s new private sharing mode upsets publishers | Digiday.com

Breaking Bad movie ‘El Camino has an alternate ending! | DigitalSpy.com

iPhone users frustrated with bugs in latest iOS update | SkyNews.co.uk:

Facebook is killing its interactive gameshow series on Facebook Watch | Engadget.com:

Once again, the bulk of the new trackers blocked were due to ad networks and social media trackers on news publisher’s sites.

2 p.m. / Trackers = 456!! WTAF

WTAF! 456 trackers blocked!! That’s a jump of nearly 200 trackers in under an hour of light browsing.

  • Replied to bunch of emails I have been needing to get to for days (30 mins)
  • Posted a tweet about a cool new influencer marketing tool called Kindred
  • Responded to a few Facebook Messenger messages from random people I don’t know. Unsurprisingly, most of my inbox is filled with people asking me to help them get their accounts verified. 🙄
  • Shared DataViz on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.

3 p.m. / Trackers = WOAH! 492!!

Another 200 trackers blocked in the past hour. They really should not bother tracking me… My web habits are at best boringly unoriginal, at worst, weird. :)

  • Read a few more articles

LinkedIn launching new features for Pages | Adweek.com

Podcast tips | Journalism.co.uk

  • Browsing Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook Group… Whilst muttering my on-going annoyances about Tweetdeck and thinking out loud how I can’t be the only social media geek who wants new shiny features for Tweetdeck.
  • Replied to more emails using Gmail… Still chasing the elusive inbox zero achievement.

4 p.m. / Trackers = 749… Wow!

  • Closing in on the end of my working day… Sorted an important email to a contact at Facebook (via Gmail)
  • General browsing of Twitter and Facebook
  • Checked in on social media monitoring tool dashboards to spot any breaking news about Google’s big product launch event (Used: Dataminr + Spike by Newswhip)
  • Checked out a post on Mashable about the cast of Friends reuniting for a selfie… Don’t judge me.
  • Quick bit of business admin. Created a couple of new invoices and proposals for new clients using my preferred accounting tool, Xero.com

(Internal monologue) I wonder how much of the growth in the tracking of my activity happens just by me merely keeping a lot of tabs open and trackers periodically being re-run on those open pages?

Tracker update: Another 250-odd trackers blocked in the past hour. It’s pretty unnerving to think all this is going on behind the scenes as I browse. Bring on monetisation of your personal data!

5 p.m. / Trackers = 841

  • Shared clever image tool with my followers online (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn)

Slapped myself across the face and forced myself to stop procrastinating… More emailing via Gmail… DONE :)

  • One last check of Newswhip/Spike, Dataminr, and my social feeds before I think about wrapping up work for the day.
  • Remembered I needed to check the price of a new Apple iPad for possible kids Christmas present this year. (No trackers!)

6 p.m. / Trackers = 1,030

  • Spent the last hour online half working / half finding myself being sucked into all sorts of junk news, subreddits, and sharing memes with friends in group chat on WhatsApp and Messenger
  • Visited WalesOnline for an update on local news… The amount of ads on local news websites is super-annoying. Pop-up and banner ad hell!

Tracker update: This last hour kept Firefox’s tracker blocker busy. Final count: 1,030 trackers! I was about to say I feel violated :) However, they were all blocked.

Thank you, Firefox.


Matt Navarra |  Social Media Consultant

Matt Navarra is a freelance social and digital media consultant. Matt’s previous clients include BBC, ITV, United Nations, International Red Cross, Sainsbury’s.

Prior to working as a consultant, Matt was Director of Social Media at global technology news and events company The Next Web (TNW) and a digital communications expert for the UK Government.

Matt frequently appears on BBC News (TV/Radio), Sky News, NBC Europe and other channels as a social media industry commentator.

Recently, Matt created and manages a popular Facebook Group for social media professionals (and geeks!) called The Social Media Geekout. He also hosts his own podcast called Geekout with Matt Navarra.

Follow Matt on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.